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Nocardia choroidal abscess.
  1. W B Phillips,
  2. C L Shields,
  3. J A Shields,
  4. R C Eagle, Jr,
  5. L Masciulli and
  6. D L Yarian
  1. Wills Eye Hospital, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


    Nocardia is a Gram positive, aerobic, filamentous branching micro-organism that rarely causes human infection. When infection does occur it usually takes the form of a subcutaneous abscess or a pneumonia-like illness. We describe a case of a patient with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia who developed painless loss of vision in the right eye secondary to a choroidal abscess after a prolonged course of treatment on several immunosuppressive agents. The patient also complained of right shoulder pain that was unresponsive to conventional therapy, and had been admitted and treated for several episodes of 'pneumonia'. A diagnostic transvitreal fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the ocular lesion was performed which demonstrated Nocardia asteroides. This allowed for appropriate antibiotic therapy to be instituted early in the course of the infection and prompted the systemic work-up which also demonstrated central nervous system and arthropic nocardial infection.

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